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New NCLB Waiver Reports Show More Issues With Struggling Schools, New Tests

The U.S. Department of Education released waiver monitoring reports for three more states Friday night that show continued struggles with low-performing schools and new tests aligned to the common core.

Kansas is dinged because the interventions for its focus schools do not seem to line up with the reasons those schools were selected for this designation in the first place. (Focus schools are those with the largest achievement gaps in the state.) This is a common problem among many waiver states. The state also has not shown that it is appropriately flagging schools that aren't among the lowest-performing, but are still not making progress toward their academic targets. Federal officials also noted that the state still has not resolved its teacher-evaluation problems that earned it a "high-risk" designation, nor has the state gotten approval from the department for a new assessment plan since dropping out of the common-testing consortium.

South Dakota was also red-flagged for not providing appropriate supports for other Title I schools, besides the lowest-performing, that aren't making progress.

Oklahoma is cited for dropping out of the PARCC assessment consortia, then submitting its own plan for administering common-core-aligned assessments that so far isn't up to federal standards. Also, its state and local report cards don't contain all the information that's required. (This is also a common problem across many waiver states.)

None of these states has a federally approved teacher-evaluation system either. All of these issues will loom large as states seek a one-year extension of their waivers.

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